The country initially recommended the vaccine for people under 65, then suspended its use in March due to blood clots. The government then restricted it to people over 60. The change also represents a change from some other countries, which have limited the use of the vaccine to the elderly or have stopped using it altogether. Young people seem to be more susceptible to clots.
Vaccination measures have caused many Germans to turn away from AstraZeneca in the hope of acquiring the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which was created in Germany. Vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also being given in Germany, but authorities have said they will continue to be given to priority groups at least until June.
The AstraZeneca vaccine announcement came as German federal lawmakers voted on Thursday to relax the rules for those who are fully vaccinated.
Germany currently has a curfew in place in areas with high infection rates; households are limited in the number of people they can meet, and non-essential purchases are limited to those with recently negative test results. But under the new law, those who have been fully vaccinated or who have been infected with the coronavirus in the past six months would not have to follow these restrictions. In addition, they could return from a trip abroad without being quarantined. The law would go into effect this weekend, if the measures were passed by the Federal Council of States, which they should be. Those who can show proof of a previous infection or vaccination might also skip the testing requirements currently in place for certain activities like going to the barber or shopping at non-essential stores.